Four years ago, I started documenting the highlights of my first trip to Hokkaido which had taken place the previous year. The inaugural post in the series, “12 days of summer in Hokkaido“, has consistently received the most views on my website over this period of time. This is in spite of it not having a show-stopping photo as its main image; instead the featured picture is a screenshot of the Google Map that I had created for the trip.
As I re-read the original article, I am reminded of why I had persisted in documenting my experiences in Hokkaido:
While researching online, a few names always came up in the forums, offering advice about what to do in Hokkaido and getting around the island. I told myself that I shall consolidate all the intel that I gathered for this trip and document them here so that someone else could benefit from this pool of knowledge.
Happy to say, this collection of posts about the self-driving trip with my family has been helpful to people who were planning to visit Hokkaido. It did take me much longer than I had expected to write it all up and to edit the photos. But better late than never!
Below are the highlights from this trip, in chronological order, which I have also incorporated into the original “12 days of summer in Hokkaido” post over the past years:
- Summer flowers abloom in Furano, Biei and Hokuryu // 富良野, 美瑛 & 北竜
- Alpine walk at Mount Asahi in Daisetsuzan National Park // 旭岳, 大雪山国立公園
- Hiking at Mt. Furano in Daisetsuzan National Park and enjoying the onsen afterwards // 富良野岳
- Slurping noodles at Asahikawa Ramen Village // 旭川
- Cow spotting in the tranquil Cape Notoro // 能取岬
- The best crab that we’ve ever eaten was at Oyaji Crabs in Abashiri // 網走市
- Fresh seafood breakfast at Abashiri Kando Morning Market // 網走市
- Exploring “the end of the Earth” at Shiretoko Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site // 知床
- Peace and quiet in the tiny town of Rausu on Shiretoko // 羅臼
- Hiking through swampy land to get to Rausu Lake // 羅臼湖
- Lake-hopping in Akan National Park
- Savouring delicious grilled pork in Obihiro // 帯広市
- Summertime dance and automated car parks in Sapporo // 札幌
- Delicious sushi and dental drama at Otaru // 小樽市
- Sampling Japanese whiskies at Nikka Whisky distillery in Yoichi // 余市蒸溜所
- Breathtaking coastal views at Shakotan Peninsula // 積丹半島
- Fruit-picking at Sobetsu Fruit Farm near Lake Toya // 洞爺湖
- Winding down with onsens and endless lake views in Shikotsu-Toya National Park // 支笏洞爺国立公園
I hope that these articles will continue to inspire someone to discover the low-key charm of Hokkaido, its remarkable natural landscape and the wonderfully fresh seafood that it has to offer, and, ultimately, to see another side of Japan.
Hokkaido may not have Tokyo’s fascinating blend of modernity and tradition or Kyoto’s cultural depth, nor can it compete with the bright lights of Osaka or the beautifully preserved gardens in Kanazawa – but it has so much else to offer. It is one of my favourite destinations in Japan, in the world even. This may also be because Hokkaido was the first place I set foot in the land of the rising sun, a case of love at first sight.
P.S. It is befitting that the featured image for this post is of the Google Map that I put together for this trip and which I recently updated with some new icons.